Provisional dates have been announced for this season’s New Zealand Road-racing Championships.
“We have yet to nail down a couple of clubs to confirm dates but I feel it’s important to give fans, riders, sponsors and team managers some idea of dates so they can start making plans for the upcoming season,” said Motorcycling New Zealand on-road board member Paul Stewart.
Last season, the championship series kicked off in the South Island, working its way up the island and, finally, wrapping up at Pukekohe.
This year the championship trail heads in the opposite direction.
Interest from international riders has already been confirmed with 600cc sports production champion Gareth Jones (Yamaha), of Australia, indicating he will be returning to defend his title.
The young Australian can probably again expect hot competition from the Kiwi contingent, including Hamilton’s Andrew Stroud (Suzuki), Feilding’s Craig Shirriffs (Honda), New Plymouth’s Hayden Fitzgerald (Honda), Christchurch Suzuki pair James Smith and Dennis Charlett, Hamilton’s Nick Cole (Kawasaki) (pictured above) and Pukekohe’s Sam Smith (Yamaha).
In addition, it is highly likely that a small squad of European 125GP riders may arrive to race in New Zealand this summer.
Dec 12/13 – Pukekohe Park Raceway – Rnd 1 NZ Champs.
Dec 19 – Manfeild Park – Rnd 1 Tri Series.
Dec 26 – Boxing Day, Wanganui – Rnd 2 Tri Series.
Dec 27/28 – Taupo Raceway – Rnd 3 Tri Series.
Jan 17/18 – Ruapuna, Christchurch – Rnd 2 NZ Champs.
Jan 24/25 – Teretonga, Invercargill – Rnd 3 NZ Champs.
Jan 31/Feb 1 – Levels Raceway, Timaru – Rnd 4 NZ Champs.
Feb 14/15 – Manfeild Park – Rnd 5 NZ Champs.
Words and photos by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com